Symbolic play in children

For children, gambling is serious business. Through this activity they develop many of their skills and gradually form an image of the world. Symbolic play is particularly important as it refers to the child’s ability to imitate real life situations and put himself in other people’s skin. It is an activity in which the child continually moves from the real to the imaginary.

Through this game the child symbolically represents the roles and situations of the world around him. This game involves “pretending” to eat, using a chopstick instead of a spoon or “pretend” to be your doll’s mother or doctor.

This is an activity that helps you expand your language, develop empathy and, above all, consolidate their mental representations. It is also a way for the child to channel his worries and even allows him to find solutions to his conflicts since it recreates different situations through play.

At what age does symbolic play?

Symbolic play generally begins at two years of age, although it depends a lot on the psychological maturity of each child. This activity appears every When the child develops the ability to create and mentally work with symbols.

At first, the child is limited to reproducing the daily life of adults, the stories that their parents read them and the cartoons . In fact, at two and three years of age, the child’s vision is still very egocentric and he prefers to play alone or with his parents. However, little by little, as language is consolidated, his imagination and the capacity of representation; he recreates more complex scenarios, fruits of his fantasy and includes other people in the game.

At what age does symbolic play start

In fact, a fundamental aspect of this new activity is shared play. At first, the child shares his game with his parents, but later he begins to enjoy r playing with the contemporaries of him. At this point they are able to establish a common goal and certain rules of the game. Little by little, the symbolic game becomes more complex and becomes a group, so it becomes a socialization process itself.

This change occurs at 4 or 5 years old, an age at which the child already has the necessary psychological tools to share the symbolism of the game with other children. Thus, the girl who used to play at being the mother of her doll, now includes other little ones in the game, who will assume different roles, such as the father, the doctor and the teacher.

Three ideas to stimulate symbolic play

Although symbolic play is a spontaneous activity, parents can also stimulate it.

  1. Play with your child. Take advantage of any occasion and immerse yourself in the fantasy world that your child has created. Sit down to drink tea or play doctor. Enjoy this moment and help him learn, trying to make the situation as close to reality as possible.
  2. Make sure he has role plays. Your child will feel more motivated if you have a mail delivery kit, a fully equipped kitchenette or a first aid kit. In fact, you don’t even need to buy these games, you can make them at home.
  3. Help him recreate characters and situations. If your child is still young, he probably has a limited repertoire of situations and characters that he can imitate. Therefore, you can propose new characters and contexts with which your child can identify, which stimulate symbolic play.